British ambassador to Yemen posts video in Arabic giving updates on Stockholm talks

Michael Aron said he will be posting updates during the peace talks between Yemen’s warring sides. (Screen grab)
Updated 06 December 2018
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British ambassador to Yemen posts video in Arabic giving updates on Stockholm talks

  • “I believe it is very important for Yemenis to understand what is going on here in the consultations” the British ambassador said
  • He said he would be accompanying the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to the peace talks

DUBAI: The British ambassador to Yemen posted a video speaking in Arabic and giving updates on the peace talks taking place in Stockholm.

Michael Aron said he will be posting updates during the peace talks between Yemen’s warring sides in an attempt to provide some level of transparency and accountability.

“I believe it is very important for Yemenis to understand what is going on here in the consultations,” Aron said in a video that was posted on the Twitter account of the British embassy in Sanaa.

The British ambassador said he would be accompanying the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to the peace talks which are expected to begin on Thursday at Johannesburg Castle, north of the Swedish capital.

Meanwhile, a 12-member government delegation, led by Yemeni Foreign Minister, Khaled Al-Yamani, arrived in Stockholm on Wednesday evening, a day after the Houthi delegation flew in from Sanaa — accompanied by the UN envoy.

The talks mark the first meeting between Yemen’s legitimate government and Houthi militants, backed by Iran, since 2016, when 106 days of negotiations yielded no breakthrough in a war that has pushed 14 million people to the brink of famine.

The Sweden meeting follows two major confidence-boosting gestures between the warring parties — a prisoner swap deal and the evacuation of 50 wounded insurgents from the Houthi-held capital for treatment in neutral Oman.

The government delegation was carrying the “hopes of the Yemeni people to achieve sustainable peace,” said Abdullah Al-Alimi, the head of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s office.

The delegation had delayed its departure until the Houthis had arrived in Stockholm after they failed to show up for the last UN bid to convene peace talks in September, sources close to the government told AFP.


Yemen president accuses UN envoy Griffiths of siding with Houthis

Updated 4 min 55 sec ago
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Yemen president accuses UN envoy Griffiths of siding with Houthis

  • Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi sent a letter to the UN chief saying he would no longer work with Griffiths
  • Letter accuses Griffiths of treating the militia as a 'de-facto government'

SANAA: Yemen’s internationally recognized president sent a letter to the UN chief, criticizing his envoy to the country over allegedly siding with Iran-aligned Houthi militia, the president’s office said Friday.
In the letter addressed to Antonio Guterres, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi accused Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, of undermining chances for peace. Hadi also warns his government would stop dealing with the UN envoy.
“I can no longer tolerate the violations committed by the special envoy, which threaten prospects for a solution,” read the five-page letter, a copy of which was released to reporters Thursday.
It also accuses Griffiths of treating the militia as a "de-facto government and as an equal to the legitimate and elected government” of Yemen.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthi rebels. A coalition of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, allied with Hadi’s government, has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015.
The fighting has killed an estimated 60,000 people and left millions suffering from lack of food and medical care.
Tensions arose between Griffiths and Hadi last week after the UN announced the long-delayed Houthi withdrawal from the flashpoint port city of Hodeidah.
Hadi’s government accused Griffiths at the time of turning a blind eye that the militants had allegedly only handed control of the port to “militia leaders” loyal to them. The “redeployment of Houthis” from Hodeidah was part of a UN-brokered deal concluded in December.
Hadi went on to say that Griffiths’s “poor understanding” of the Yemeni conflict makes him unfit for his post.
While briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Yemen last week, Griffiths urged the warring sides to maintain the momentum of the Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah — the country’s lifeline to foreign aid — and to work urgently on a political solution to the devastating conflict.
There were “signs of hope” but “also alarming signs” that could threaten progress, Griffiths said, a reference to continuing clashes in the southern Dhale province.
Later Friday, Houthi leader Mohamed Ali Al-Houthi tweeted that Hadi’s letter to the UN chief was “a miserable attempt to curtail peace.”